Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Launch - Coalition Country: South Africa after the ANC by Leon Schreiber (25 April)

What will rise when the ANC falls?

The ANC has governed South Africa for more than two decades, but it will not remain in power forever.

Electoral trends suggest their remarkable run is coming to an end soon.

If the ANC’s support falls below 50% in 2019, the country could soon be run by a coalition of political parties.

This will completely transform South Africa’s political landscape and the consequences will be felt by everyone.

One of South Africa’s brightest young political minds, Leon Schreiber, explores the most likely scenarios for South Africa’s political future. Will Mmusi Maimane and Julius Malema be in charge of the country in the near future and can such a coalition last? Or will the ANC and the EFF form a united front to rule the country, and what will the consequences be? The era of one-party dominance is coming to an end.

South Africans must urgently start preparing for this new reality.
 
Leon Schreiber is an author and a Senior Research Specialist at Princeton University in the United States. He obtained a PhD in Political Science in Germany. Besides his work for Princeton, Leon regularly participates in television and radio programmes as a political analyst, and writes for some of South Africa’s leading newspapers and magazines.

Event Details

Launch - Writing the Ancestral River: A biography of the Kowie by Jacklyn Cock (23 April)

Jacklyn Cock has penned a love letter that is as hopeful as it is elegiac. Drawing on family connections to the Kowie that go back to the 1820 settlers, Cock asks big questions about the relationship between nature and culture, between humans and other forms of life, and about the place of rivers in human history. It is only by rethinking our relationship to nature that we can save ourselves.
JACOB DLAMINI, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

Jacklyn Cock has made the story of a small and fairly insignificant river into a metonym of the biological glories of South Africa and the ecological devastation they have endured, and continue to endure. The result is at once lyrical and trenchant. As a history rooted in the landscape of South Africa, it has few peers, and no superiors.
ROBERT ROSS, PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF AFRICAN STUDIES, LEIDEN UNIVERSITY

Writing the Ancestral River is an illuminating biography of the Kowie River in the Eastern Cape. This tidal river runs through a formative meeting ground of peoples who have shaped South Africa’s history: Khoikhoi herders, Xhosa pastoralists, Dutch trekboers and British settlers. Their direct descendants in the area still interact in ways that have been decisively shaped by their shared history.

This is also a natural history of the river and its catchment area, where dinosaurs once roamed and cycads still grow. The natural world of the Kowie has felt the effects of human settlement, most strikingly through the development of a harbour at the mouth of the river in the 19th century and a marina in the late 20th century, which have had a decisive and deleterious impact on the Kowie.

People are increasingly reconnecting with nature and justice through rivers. Acknowledging the past, and the inter-generational, racialised privileges, damages and denials it established and perpetuates, is necessary for any shared future. By focusing on this ‘little’ river, the book raises larger questions about colonialism, capitalism, ‘development’ and ecology, and asks us to consider the connections between social and environmental injustice.
 
Jacklyn Cock is a professor emeritus in the Sociology department at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She has written extensively on environment, gender and militarisation issues and is best known for Maids and Madams: A Study in the Politics of Exploitation (1980).
 
Event Details

Yves Vanderhaeghen's Afrikaner Identity looks at the role that media plays in the construction and demarcation of boundaries and culture

What have we done?’ is a plea heard amid the wreckage of Afrikanerdom.

‘Afrikaner’ in South African public discourse is more often than not a swear word.

This close media study considers how, squeezed in the moral vice of past and present, Afrikaners look in a mirror that reflects only a beautiful people.

It is an image of upstanding, hard-working citizens.

To hold on to that image requires blinkers, sleights of hand and contortion.

Above all, it requires an inversion of the liberation narrative in which the wretched of South Africa are the historical oppressors, besieged in their language, their homes, their jobs.

They are the new ‘grievables’, an identity that requires intricate moral manoeuvres, and elision as much of the past as of transformation.
 
Yves Vanderhaeghen is a journalist who grew up in Pretoria, took time out from newspapers to write his PhD on Afrikaner ‘self-othering’ in Beeld newspaper, and is now editor of the Witness in Pietermaritzburg.

‘Central to the book’s original contribution is the notion of “self-othering”, namely the discursive switch present in Afrikaans media that turns perpetrators into victims in an attempt to dislodge the historical burden of collective guilt and assume a new identity of marginalisation – thereby activating a discourse of minority rights and the need for cultural protection. This is a significant, authentic insight that the author goes on to support through empirical analysis of newspaper reports.’ — Herman Wasserman, professor of Media Studies and director of the Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town

Book details

Launch: Like Sodium in Water by Hayden Eastwood (19 April)

 

“Dad thinks lots of things are right-wing. He even thinks He-Man is right-wing. I ask Dad who we are and he says left-wing. Left is opposite to right. If right is bad, then we’re the opposite of that, which means we’re good.”

It’s post-independence Zimbabwe and an atmosphere of nostalgia hangs over much of Harare’s remaining white community. Hayden Eastwood grows up in a family that sets itself apart, distinguishing themselves from Rhodie-Rhodies through their politics: left is good; right is bad.

Within the family’s free and easy approach to life, Hayden and his younger brother, Dan, make a pact to never grow up, to play hide and seek and build forts forever, and to never, ever be interested in girls. But as Hayden and Dan develop as teenagers, and the chemicals of adolescence begin to stir, their childhood pact starts to unravel.

And with the arrival of Sarah into their lives, the two brothers find themselves embroiled in an unspoken love triangle. While Sarah and Hayden spend increasing amounts of time together, Dan is left to deal with feelings of rejection and the burden of hidden passion alone, and the demise of a silly promise brings with it a wave of destruction.

Laced with humour, anger and sadness, Like Sodium in Water is an account of a family in crisis and an exploration of how we only abandon the lies we tell ourselves when we have no other option.
 
The Author
When not informing people about the inadvisability of push-starting motorbikes in close proximity to rivers, Hayden Eastwood develops cryptocurrency trading bots as part of a high-risk low-return business venture portfolio. Non-transferable skills from a doctorate in computational physics have likewise ill-equipped him for gooseberry farming, vehicle maintenance and relationships with women. He lives in Harare.

Event Details

Launch: Michael K by Nthikeng Mohlele (19 April)

‘Those in the know claim Michael K disembarked from a diesel-smoke-spewing truck one overcast morning, looked around, and without missing a beat, chose a spot where he set down a small bucket (red, burnt and disfigured) that contained an assortment of seedlings, some fisherman’s twine and a rudimentary gardening tool – probably self-made.’

How is it that a character from literary fiction can so alter the landscapes he touches, even as he – in his self-imposed isolation – seeks to avoid them? How is it that Michael K, bewildered and bewildering, can remain so fragile yet so present, so imposing without attempting to be so?

In this response to JM Coetzee’s classic masterpiece, Life & Times of Michael K, Nthikeng Mohlele dabbles in the artistic and speculative in a unique attempt to unpack the dazed and disconnected world of the title character, his solitary ways, his inventiveness, but also to show how astutely Michael K holds up a mirror to those whose paths he inadvertently crosses. Michael K explores the weight of history and of conscience, thus wrestling the character from the confines of literary creation to the frontiers of artistic timelessness.

Event Details

Launch: Winging It by Joanne Jowell (17 April)

Jonathan Kaplan, celebrated international rugby referee and former world record-holder for most Test caps, had his fair share of challenging moments on the field.

He was known for his commitment to fair play, ability to defuse tense situations, and courage in making difficult, and sometimes controversial, decisions. All this would stand JK in good stead and come back into play when, at the age of 47, he made two life-changing decisions.

The first was to blow his whistle for the last time and end his career as a professional rugby ref. The second was to become a parent – and a solo parent at that. This is the story of JK’s decision to have a baby by surrogate, the two-year fertility process that followed, and the subsequent birth of his son Kaleb.

Winging It draws on the insights of key role-players in JK’s journey, including the extraordinary experience of the surrogate mother herself. Exchanging rucks for reflux, mauls for milk bottles, scrums for storks (and other stories about Kaleb’s conception), this account of how JK navigates the choppy waters of parenthood is disarmingly frank and scrupulously honest.

At times poignant and tender, and at others downright funny, this is a thoroughly contemporary take on what constitutes a family and how we dare to build one.

Joanne Jowell is the author of the bestselling biographies On the Other Side of Shame: An Extraordinary Account of Adoption and Reunion (2009), Finding Sarah: A True Story of Living with Bulimia (2011) and The Crazy Life of Larry Joe: A Journey on the Streets and Stage (2014). She lives in Cape Town with her husband and three children.
&nbpsp;

Event Details